France: We are looking for solutions to end Ukraine conflict
The French Defense Minister says Ukraine will decide the terms and timing of negotiations.
In an interview for the French magazine Le Journal du Dimanche, Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu said on Sunday that France and allies are exploring "tailored" solutions to solve the conflict in Ukraine.
"Together with our allies, we are considering possible political solutions to end the conflict in Ukraine," Lecornu said, adding that French President Emmanuel Macron "spent hours on discussions" with all sides of the conflict and will continue to do so.
During the interview, Lecornu said no conflict ends without a political and diplomatic solution.
Yet earlier today, it was reported that France has supplied Ukraine with two short-range surface-to-air missile systems, Crotale, and is considering a delivery of radars - a move far from being considered fair and diplomatic considering the extent of the damage Ukrainian forces inflicted on Kherson prior to Russian troops withdrawal.
The Minister further added that Ukraine will decide the terms and timing of negotiations, a statement which is by far the clearest proof that the "solutions" France and its allies are exploring will in no way convene with the Russian side.
On November 19, US Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley said the US and allied support has not diminished but considered that Kiev's defense puts it in a better position to begin talks.
"The probability of a Ukrainian military victory, defined as kicking the Russians out of all of Ukraine, to include ... Crimea, the probability of that happening anytime soon is not high, militarily," he indicated.
"There may be a political solution where, politically, the Russians withdraw, that's possible," he added, pointing out that "you want to negotiate from a position of strength. Russia right now is on its back."
Over the past few weeks, Macron has made several attempts to reach a political settlement to the conflict in Ukraine.
On October 25, he met with Pope Francis to discuss the situation in Ukraine, the humanitarian toll of the conflict, and to convince US President Joe Biden on engaging in talks to resolve the conflict.
On October 26, it was reported that the president of Guinea-Bissau, Umaro Sissoco Embalo, a diplomatic ally of France, had told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that Russian President Vladimir Putin had a "message" to convey him - suggesting that Russia is intending to initiate negotiations with Ukraine - a statement which was later rebuked by Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov who told reporters, "There is no specific statement in this case, and there was no talk of it."
On November 16, Macron said during the G20 summit in Bali that China and India can play a more vital role in terms of mediating the Ukraine conflict to curb offensives, chiefly land offensives.
"I'm convinced that China can play a greater mediation role [in the Ukrainian conflict] in the coming months to prevent the resumption of offensives, especially land offensives after the beginning of February," Macron told a press conference following the G20 summit.
"I also had an exchange with Prime Minister Modi. The following is very clear: [India] is ready for greater cooperation on all global issues and is willing to re-engage in mediation with Russia," Macron revealed.
On November 14, it was reported that a French official said President Emmanuel Macron will call Putin following the Group of 20 Summit, where Russia is anticipated to face intense pressure.
The senior Elysee official told journalists that Macron "will call him after the G20," lamenting Putin's "isolation" over the war in Ukraine.
Unlike other European leaders, the French President has kept in contact with Putin and will "continue to talk," as per the official. Macron will also tell China's Xi Jinping that "pressuring" Russia over the war in Ukraine is in Beijing's "interest".
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